The first class has graduated from the USC Hybrid High School in Los Angeles, an LA Unified charter school under the operation of the USC Rossier School of Education and Ednovate, an organization dedicated to Personalized College Prep.
All 84 graduates of the innovative high school will be attending four-year colleges, and most have been awarded scholarships.
Valerie Childress watched her quadruplets graduate in Bovard Auditorium at the University of Southern California and cried with joy. She professed her pride and gratefulness to the Hybrid School, writes Mike Szymanski for The 74 Million.
The graduating class received over $5 million in scholarships and 400 acceptance letters from schools that included Pepperdine, the University of Pennsylvania, and UCLA.
The school is located in the old Los Angeles World Trade Center with 74% Latino students, 22% black, and 85% in lower-income families. Instruction is personalized for each student, every student has a Chromebook, and teachers monitor pupils' performance closely. Students also learn self-motivation and how to be self-directed.
Currently, Ednovate has two schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District — USC Hybrid High and USC East College Prep in Lincoln Heights. Santa Ana in Orange County will open in August, and two more schools are set to be operational in 2017.
Ednovate President Oliver Sicat, who graduated from USC, said he had always wanted to combine entrepreneurship and education, and that is what he is doing now with help from his alma mater.
"I have been thinking about this moment for quite a while, it's the culmination of hundreds of staff members, students, parents and partners," Sicat said. "We have created a positive multi-generational change in these families, with the first generation to attend college for most of them and trying to break the cycle of poverty."
Sicat pointed out that a student who was homeless worked through onerous conditions to enroll in Hybrid and now has a scholarship to a four-year college. Another student was behaving poorly, skipping classes, and not doing his homework. Now he will be going to a four-year college outside of Los Angeles.
Most of the seniors are the first in their families to attend college, reports Ross Brenneman, writing for the USC News.
Hybrid Principal Mide "Mac" Macauley told the graduates that he loved all of them, and added:
"There are those who doubted you, and there are those who cheered for you. These things will never go away. You'll always have both in your lives. You'll face obstacles great and small, but I am confident you will overcome them because of the resiliency you have demonstrated."
Angela Chen, reporting for the Daily Trojan, says Dean of Rossier School of Education Karen Gallagher called the graduating students "change agents" and said their success was a "tribute to their hard work and dedication."
Keynote speaker USC President C.L. Max Nikias told the graduates that the three keys to success were good judgment, character, and knowledge.
On Ednovate's website, the organization explains that their college prep educational model consists of personalization, purpose, and mindsets. Teachers at their schools assist students in finding their individual strengths and interests. Technology is used to enhance learning and allow more personalization and flexibility than can be obtained in a traditional classroom.
The Ednovate curriculum is aligned with the ACT College & Career Readiness Standards. Students are required to complete ten hours of community service as a part of the schools' Positive Multigenerational Change initiative.
The four "mindsets" are characteristics that lead the adults and students toward success. They are integrity, mastery, entrepreneurship, and joy.